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ARAMS: How sheep movement recording changes will affect your farm

The new electronic movement reporting system, for processing sheep, goat and deer movements, will be rolled out in England on April 1, 2014. Katie Jones, Farmers Guardian livestock editor, takes a look at what this means for English producers.

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In line with a recommendation of the Farming Regulation Task Force, farmers will have the choice of reporting sheep movements using a new electronic movement reporting system for sheep from April 1, 2014.


Farmers who wish to create movements electronically will be able to register an account on the Animal and Reporting Movement Service (ARAMS), which is being provided by SouthWestern.


This will allow them to set up a movement (for example, farm to farm, farm to abattoir) online. A pre-populated movement document will then be printed to accompany the animals during transport.


If the receiving keeper is also registered on SouthWestern’s system, they will be able to confirm receipt of the movement through an online portal.


For farmers who wish to continue reporting sheep movements on paper, SouthWestern will provide a centralised recording service (bureau) based in Milton Keynes.


This bureau will take over the paper recording service from every local authority in England on the April 1, 2014.

Key questions on ARAMS answered

What does the ARAMS service entail?

ARAMS involves two parts. The first is the SouthWestern bureau operation in Milton Keynes, where staff will process all paper movements and enter them onto the ARAMS database.


The second part is an electronic interface with some premises’ back office IT systems to automatically transfer movement information into the system.


Once all the movement information has been validated by the ARAMS database, the information is then transferred into the Government database - Animal Movement Licensing System (AMLS).


Who has to report electronically to ARAMS?

Legislation dictates all English markets, abattoirs, collection centres and assembly centres will have to report electronically to the new system from April 1, 2014.

These premises account for about 70 per cent of all sheep movements in England. Currently movements into these premises are being processed manually by local authorities.


Will farmers have to report movements electronically?

Farmers will have the choice of reporting sheep (and goat and deer) movements electronically if they wish. Farmers can continue to report movements on paper if they prefer.

If I want to report movements on paper, are there any changes?

Yes, there will be new movement documents supplied by SouthWestern:


  • An ARAMS-1 document will replace the current AML1 form for sheep and goat movements.
  • An ARAMS-S form for supplementary tag information. 


These new movement forms are similar to the current AML1 and AML24 documents.


The second change is these new movement forms should be posted to the SouthWestern office instead of your local authority.

The SouthWestern address, which is given on the bottom of the new movement form is: Animal Reporting and Movement Service, SouthWestern, PO Box 6299, Milton Keynes, MK10 1ZQ.


Is it still the receiving keeper who should report the movements?

Yes. As it is today, these movements must be reported within three days, whether the receiving keeper is reporting electronically or on paper.

Where will I be able to get new movement forms?

The new forms will be available from English sheep markets, major showgrounds and local authority offices from late March.

They will also be available at www.arams.co.uk  


If I wish to report movements electronically, how will I do so?

The first step will be to register an account on the ARAMS website, www.arams.co.uk

Farmers will be able to register an account before the end of March. It will be possible to link multiple County Parish Holdings (CPHs) to one user account. The website will carry user guides by the end of March.


Is there any cost to farmers using the new reporting system?

No. For farmers who wish to continue to report on paper, the cost will be the same as current charges.

Will there be a helpline available for the new system?

The helpline number, which will be available from April 1 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, is 0844 573 0137.

If a farmer creates a movement electronically on ARAMS, do they still need to user a paper movement form?

Once you set the movement up electronically, the ARAMS system will allow you to print a movement form which is pre-populated with the details.


In most cases, you will need to print three copies - one for the haulier and two for the destination keeper.


In some circumstances it may not be necessary to print any copies from ARAMS - but this would be dependent on the haulier having a PDA, laptop or tablet (with mobile printing facilities) and the receiving keeper also being registered on ARAMS.


In most scenarios, it will be necessary to print at least three copies. The dispatching keeper can print a fourth copy for their own records, if they wish.


No paper movement document would be necessary if both the departure and receiving keepers were using ARAMS to record/report moves electronically and the transporter was moving with an electronic copy of the movement document.

What do I do if the departure keeper creates the move electronically - do I have to confirm the movement electronically?

No. Regardless of whether the departure keeper created the movement electronically or not, the receiving keeper will always have the option of whether to confirm receipt electronically or on paper.


Where the departure keeper has printed a pre-populated movement form to give to the receiving keeper, the receiving keeper can simply post that form to the SouthWestern bureau if they wish.


If the receiving keeper is set up electronically, they can log into their ARAMS account, where the incoming movement details would be awaiting them to confirm receipt.


In this scenario, they do not have to post the movement form to SouthWestern.

If the departure keeper did not create the movement electronically - can I still confirm receipt electronically if I wish?

Yes. The receiving keeper (if registered on ARAMS) can log into their account and enter the movement details.

Will ARAMS cover Wales and Scotland?

No, ARAMS relates to sheep, goat and deer movements in England only.


The ScotEID system represents movements in Scotland and a new Welsh EID database should be operational by 2015.


The ARAMS database will interface with its Scottish and Welsh counterparts to share movement information relating to cross-border movements, although the interface between England and Scotland will not be operational until about July and the interface between England and Wales will not be operational until the Welsh database is finalised in 2015.


In the interim, English farmers will be able to report ‘off’ movements electronically to ARAMS for movements from their premises to a premises in Scotland/Wales.


They will print a pre-populated movement form which will accompany the animals to Scotland/Wales.


For ‘on’ movements to an English farm (from a Scotland/Wales premise), the English farmer can either post the Scottish/Welsh movement form to SouthWestern’s office - or they can set up the ‘on’ movement electronically on ARAMS if they wish.


English farmers who wish to use a paper movement form for ‘off’ movements from their premises to a Welsh/Scottish premises will use the new ARAMS movement document for this purpose. The receiving keeper in Scotland/Wales will forward this form to their relevant authority.

If I have a farm management package, can I report electronically through this?

SouthWestern has provided each farm management package (FMP) provider with interface specification documents which will allow the FMP to interface directly with ARAMS.

If I use ARAMS, how will my electronic holding register work?

Farmers who set up an ARAMS portal account will have the choice of using a free electronic holding register.

When setting up the holding register, a farmer will have two options for ‘off’ movements:


  • Accept the version of tag numbers provided by the market, abattoir, assembly centre or collection centre.
  • Use the farmer’s version of tag numbers to automatically populate their holding register.


Similarly for ‘on’ movements, the farmer will have two options:


  • Accept the version supplied by the market, abattoir, assembly centre or collection centre.
  • Amend the details if the farmer feels these are incorrect.


Farmers can amend any data they allow to be downloaded to their e-holding register.


What should I be doing next?

Farmers will be able to register for an ARAMS account before the end of March.

However, even if they register for an ARAMS account, they can still decide to report on paper if they wish. 


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